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De Villiers wins Man of the Series, Philander find of the Proteas summer

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South Africa got their 2012 year off to the perfect start when they beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the third Sunfoil Test at Sahara Park Newlands on Friday with a session and a full day to spare. This result clinched the series for them 2-1 and brought to an end a run of drawn home Test series against England, India and Australia. By the same token it must also be pointed out that the Proteas have been unbeaten in away Test series since their visit to Pakistan in 2007. This includes two series in India as well as one each in Australia and England.

Sri Lanka put up a dogged fight for much of the fourth day with Thilan Samaraweera scoring his second century in successive Test matches (115 not out off 215 balls with 14 fours) and sharing a partnership of 142 with Angelo Mathews.

For a long time it looked as though the visitors might take the game into a fifth day but, as always, Vernon Philander provided the breakthrough when it was really needed, getting rid of both Mathews and the talented young Dinesh Chandimal in quick succession.

The Sri Lanka tail succumbed without much of a fight and in the end the Proteas needed just two runs for victory. Dhannika Prasad started the innings with a no ball half-volley which Alviro Petersen drove straight down the ground to complete the job.

Philander finished the series with 16 wickets from two matches to give him 30 wickets in his four home Tests of the summer – an outstanding start to his career. He also proved in this match that he could be just as effective on docile surfaces as on lively ones.

AB de Villiers, who scored 99 in the first match and an unbeaten 160 in this game, was named Sunfoil Man of the Series while Jacques Kallis, who finished off the Sri Lankan second innings, was the obvious choice as Sunfoil Man of the Match.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola congratulated the team on a superb performance. "It was an excellent all-round effort set up by some of the best batting Newlands has ever witnessed on the first two days. Jacques Kallis' double century was a special innings as was AB de Villiers' unbeaten 160. There was also much to admire in the character displayed by both Alviro Petersen and Jacques Rudolph in pressure situations.

"The bowlers then took over and it was good to see the entire attack contributing in equal measure. Vernon Philander, in particular, is to be congratulated on the wonderful start he has made to his Test career.

"This year is a very big one for the Castle Lager Test squad with challenging away tours coming up to New Zealand, England and Australia and they have certainly started 2012 in the best possible style.

"This side, under the outstanding leadership of Graeme Smith, has the potential to make all South Africans very proud over the months ahead of us."